The federal government is expected to unveil its new regulations for the medical marijuana program in the next few weeks and the expected changes have some doctors and other stakeholders worried.

Health Canada took the unusual step of releasing its proposals months ago. It then held a series of pre-consultations during which thousands of people responded.

One proposed change would streamline the process by which a person can receive medical marijuana, but it has doctors worried it puts too much onus on the physician.

Right now, family physicians give the okay for a patient to use medical marijuana and Health Canada approves the final application.

Under the new system, doctors would simply write a prescription and the patient would send that to a commercial grower.

"The buck stops completely with the physician now," said Anna Reid, president of the Canadian Medical Association and an emergency room doctor.

Reid said the problem is that while doctors have a lot of information on prescription drugs, most have very little information on the benefits and effects of marijuana.

"Physicians don't know what they're prescribing. They don't know actually what is in that marijuana. They don't know what dose they're supposed to prescribe," Reid told CBC News.

NDP health critic Libby Davies is asking Health Canada to work with physicians, to give them the research and information they need to prescribe marijuana. But Davies said this change is good for patients.

"We had so many complaints and cases of people who were tied up in bureaucratic tape. So I think that's a good step."

But Davies is also urging the government to find a role for so-called "compassion clubs" across the country, which many people are already going to for help in getting access to the drug.

Concern over costs, but also safety

Paul Lewin, Ontario regional director for Norml, an organization that lobbies for people's right to use marijuana, agrees with the need to provide more research.

But he's worried about a proposal to replace individual licensed marijuana growers with larger commerical operations, which he fears could drive the price up.

"Cannabis can be expensive and if you're using it medicinally you may be using a lot in a day. And these are sick people who are probably of modest means," Lewin said.

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs has been lobbying the goverment to make this change.

Stephen Gamble, president of the national organization, said people's homes are not designed to sustain grow operations and many individual growers make changes to wiring, for example, that are not done to fire codes.

That poses a fire hazard and a threat to firefighters when they have to enter a home being used as a grow op.

"One of the firefighters in our own community ... got electrocuted. And we had to transfer him to the hospital," said Gamble, who is a fire chief in Langley, B.C.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Scooby Doo

    For one thing, Scooby Doobie Doo's middle name is a synonym for a joint. He and Shaggy like to drive around looking for monsters and ghosts in a flower power van called the Mystery Machine that leaves clouds of smoke in its wake. In the 2002 movie, Shaggy falls in love with a girl named Mary Jane (Isla Fisher).

  • Speedy Gonzales

    Here Speedy sings "La Cucaracha," not missing a beat of the lyric that translates to: “The roach, the roach, can’t walk any more. Because it needs, because it needs, marijuana to smoke.” His cousin and presumed smoking partner, Slow Poke Rodriguez, is always on the hunt for food.

  • H.R. Pufnstuf

    Considering the name (H.R. thought to stand for hand-rolled), the entire show could be an elaborate drug reference. The show's head writer, Lennie Weinrib, asked more questions than he answered on that front. "I think fans gave it a kind of mysterious code-like meaning, like ‘Ah, was Pufnstuf puffing stuff? Like grass?’ Was it psychedelic? Was it drug oriented? Not to us, it wasn’t," <a href="http://www.bugaloos.com/THS-HR.html">he said.</a>

  • Cookie Monster

    If there was ever a character built around a case of the munchies, it's Cookie Monster. In this clip he experiences a range of feelings while eating a cookie. "Very emotionally draining!"

  • Sylvester the Cat

    In <a href="http://home.roadrunner.com/~tuco/looney/tome/j.html">a 1955 cartoon</a> (sadly not seen here), Porky asks Sylvester, "Have you been smoking loco weed?"

  • Popeye

    What's in Popeye's pipe? Spinach was a popular code word for marijuana in the 1920s and 30s, when the cartoon was created, and in some animated cartoons from the 60s Popeye <a href="http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3568.html">can be seen smoking spinach </a>through his pipe. No need to tell the kids what type of green stuff gives him his magical powers.

  • Puff, the Magic Dragon

    Peter, Paul and Mary never acknowledged any meaning to the song beyond childhood nostalgia, but many think Puff and his friend Jackie Paper are references to puffing, draggin' and rolling papers. The animated series adaptation brought these characters and some trippy pink smoke to life. And in Hanalei, Hawaii, <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60612-d673966-r133999195-Kayak_Kaua_i-Hanalei_Kauai_Hawaii.html">even the tour guides smoke weed</a>.